What Princeton Must Do to Defeat Yale

  • November 10, 2017

BY JAY GREENBERG

1) Limit Zane Dudek: Freshman tailback is averaging an insane nine yards per carry. “Makes the jump cut and accelerates,” says Coach Bob Surace.  “When he sees a gap, he is going right there.”  Yale has video evidence of Penn running for 331 yards against a depleted Tiger defense a week ago so Princeton’s gap discipline is going to be challenged again, probably more than ever.  Dudek can break four long ones a game; the Tigers would sign up now for just one.

2) Pocket Kurt Rawlings:  This is a sophomore quarterback with 65 per cent passing accuracy who can make plays with his feet, too.  Tigers can’t let him get outside. Tigers have to do some blitzing and hope for better fortune with their surprises than on Penn’s winning touchdown last week, when single coverage was left on Justin Watson and quarterback Will Fischer-Colbrie made the read and got the ball away quickly.  Different quarterback this week.  Similar challenge.

3) Win the turnover battle: Tigers had a chance in the end in Philadelphia because they converted two Penn second-half fumbles into touchdowns.  Then, too, Penn piled up a 24-7 lead because offensive momentum was lost in the second quarter on a Princeton fumble. Even with the two Penn turnovers, Princeton defense was on the field for a debilitating 37 minutes. Tigers have to get themselves off the field.

4) Cash Some IOUs: Tiger bad luck with the officiating has a chance to turn in just a week, depending upon how the officials call the Bulldogs’ press coverage on the Princeton multiple receiving threats.  Yale cornerbacks are bigger than the normal ones faced by Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson, inches a veteran defense containing nine returning starters will need.  A number of close games in the Surace era have gotten away on missed calls and missed kicks; the vast majority of Princeton wins have been by big scores.  The league owed Princeton an apology for a winning touchdown overruled, but the football gods are still in the Tigers’ debt.

5) Embrace the Opportunity: Circumstances have made the Tigers a decided underdog for a rare time.  Hopes to still get a piece of the title are dependent on a lot more things than they can count on, but Princeton doesn’t need anybody’s help to knock its greatest rival out of sole possession of the lead.  Safe to say, Yale games dominate Tiger alum memories, both good and bad, whether Princeton was still alive in Week Nine or not. A smile may be just as good as a ring.

 

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